Large yellow jacket nests spotted in Alabama

Huge yellow jacket nests

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Scientists are warning Alabamians to be on the look out for yellow jacket “super nests."

When the Alabama Cooperative Extension System sent out a press release late last week, they had two confirmed large nests, or perennial nests. But now the number has grown.

"Now I’ve gotten reports in of maybe as many as 15 more,” said Charles Ray, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

In 2006, Ray says Alabama had about 90 of the super colonies.

Each one usually has around 15,000 yellow jackets, or about 3 to 4 times more than a normal nest.

"In previous years, I’ve never seen one north of Talladega. (This year) I’ve got two possible in the Tennessee Valley,” he said. “It looks like we may be having another break out year.”

Ray says this year, the number of nests is already outpacing the 2006 situation. So why is it happening?

“Any place where it’s good shelter, where it doesn’t freeze, the colony probably won’t die off,” said Clint Hester with Stark Exterminators.

Hester adds the relatively mild winter is one possible reason. He says that could have let some of the old worker jackets survive.

“So you have the new ones, plus the old workers and double the size of the colony in just one year,” said Stark. “If you come across them, avoid them. I would call a professional out to take a look at it.”

Ray wants to hear about it as well. You can contact him at raychah@aces.edu or at raychah@auburn.edu.

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